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Gov. Cuomo enjoys strong lead start over Republican challenger on Election Day

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/PIX11) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has consistently led Republican challenger Rob Astorino in the polls and holds a hefty fundraising advantage as voters head to the polls Tuesday.

A victory would make Cuomo New York's first Democratic governor to win re-election since his father, Mario Cuomo.

The 56-year-old Cuomo ran on his accomplishments since taking office in 2011: lower taxes, less government gridlock, a focus on upstate New York's economy, tighter gun control and legalization of gay marriage.

Cuomo and his running mate, former Buffalo congresswoman Kathy Hochul, focused heavily on female voters, vowing to fight for pay equity and abortion rights.

Astorino criticized Cuomo's record on the economy and tried to paint Cuomo as a corrupt insider. But he has lagged Cuomo in the polls and had only a tenth of the money Cuomo was able to raise for the campaign.

On Election Day eve, Astorino made an appearance with Congressman Michael Grimm, who despite a criminal indictment for tax evasion and perjury, has racked up a nearly 20 point lead over his challenger, Domenic Recchia.

In New York, Republicans are looking to seize control of the state senate and a 32-seat majority, with many races too close to call.

However, in contests for the U.S. Senate, the Republicans look to have an easier time.

The often-cited FiveThirtyEight blog, in its latest model run this morning, gives the GOP a 76 percent chance to gain control, and setting up a battle between a lame duck president, and a Republican-controlled Congress.